By Daniel Hunter
As England celebrates St George’s Day (Thursday), a survey from the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) shows that businesses based in England want more decisions taken in town halls, rather than from Westminster.
The results from more than 1,300 English firms show that 42% believe greater devolution to their local area would have a positive impact on their business; while a quarter (26%) think it would have negative consequences.
However, while businesspeople want more decisions taken locally, they remain sceptical when it comes to tax-setting powers being handed over to councils.
Nearly a third (33%) of English businesses would expect their tax bills to rise if set locally, versus 18% who expect to pay less tax. Micro, small and medium-sized businesses were more likely to say they would expect to pay additional tax, compared to large organisations.
The majority of businesses identified simplifying local government (58%) and giving ratepayers a vote on local economic strategies (51%) as the most effective methods of increasing the accountability and effectiveness of local government.
BCC Director General, John Longworth, said: “Firms want to see spending decisions related to local growth made in their areas, but remain very sceptical of any devolution of tax-setting powers.”